Anyone who reads my blog regularly knows about my old job as a general manager with Qdoba. You may have read about my frustration , my job search and my last day at the restaurant. I would say that, for better or worse, the world of vaccine sales and customer service is basically the opposite of the environment I recently left.
My job is not exciting, it’s not active, and it’s almost never stressful. The other week the big event was the 5-year vaccine department veteran cutting a watermelon in the break room. Not cutting her hand while cutting the watermelon, or dropping it on the floor, but her just cutting a watermelon drew a small crowd. There is very strange drama, but it’s all passed around in whispers or behind closed doors. It’s quiet. I interact with at most 25 people face-to-face each day. I no longer speak anything but English at work. I do however, get to talk by phone with many accented non-native English speakers in the New York City offices I work with. Everyone in my office is white. The people who I work closely with are very much like myself – suburban-raised, 20-something women, college-educated etc. Pathetic as it is, being married to a Mexican probably makes me the most diverse person on the staff.
I arrive at 8:00 am every day, usually after working out at the gym (miracle!) from 6:00 to 7:00 am. I leave each day at 4:30 p.m. I never have to stay late, I never field calls at 7:00 am or 10:30 pm about computer problems or misbehaving alarm systems. I spend a lot of time on the phone and almost all my workday sitting in front of the computer. A certain period of time void of productivity each day seems to be almost expressly implied. This might sound like anyone’s office, but for me, it’s a huge change, the definition of workplace opposites. On one hand I crave the craziness, when I have a little twinge of it–four phone calls in a row at 3:00 pm and everyone wanting their order shipped today,
And when people ask me if I like this job, I generally say yes. Do I want to sell vaccines the rest of my life? No. But can I do it for a few years or five perhaps while I pursue my other interests in my free time? Definitely. I was at Rachel and Joe’s wedding and caught up with many former Cardinal editors a few weeks ago. Many of them are now real journalists, one is finishing his PhD in Chinese studies and another is working with the deaf in Kenya. I am the self-proclaimed sell-out of the group, but I’m not ashamed of that word right now. I feel good having a regular job with time for myself, Fermin, family activities
This week was a little bit sad, however. Britta, who trained me here, has just left to pursue her dream of doing high-end event planning. Through a bizarre and exciting series of events, she landed a short-term position with long-term networking potential at the Festival del Sole in Napa. Another fifth of the vaccine department, watermelon-slicer and 5-year veteran Heidi, gave her one-month notice the other day. None of this was a surprise. Britta and Heidi are best friends and have been planning to travel in Europe this fall and I inadvertantly learned of it a few weeks after starting, but it’s still sad to think that the other new girl Jenni, our boss Jeff and I will be the only members of our department in a few weeks.
So that’s my job in a nutshell. While other friends and acquaintances of mine seem to be struggling with issues of the direction of their career lives, I finally feel a bit of stability. And it is good.